Mike Maslanka, generally a defense lawyer, offers a good point about employee handbooks. All large employers have them. They provide concise, easy-to-read rules. But, employee handbooks generally do not provide a purpose for the rule. They do not explain why a particular rule is necessary, or even better, why the rule provides a benefit to the employee. For example, every handbook explains that the employee is at-will and and can quit anytime. That means, the employer can terminate the employee at any time. Mike suggests employers explain how that benefits both parties. One could, for example, insert a sentence explaining that this flexibility allows either party to seize available opportunities. A handbook could also explain the rules regarding hostile work environment ensure that the best employees are allowed to be productive.
In the US Army, we called this process "task plus purpose." Every mission should provide the purpose of a particular mission to a soldier. If you explain the purpose of a particular task or mission, you provide that soldier the flexibility to react to changing circumstances. For example, do not just tell a captain his men must seize a particular objective. Tell him his troops must secure an objective in support of another attack. That way, if the objective is secured before the captain gets there, he will know that he should react by supporting the attack in some other way. This sort of flexibility allows nimble reaction to a fluid situation. He will not have to wait until he can call the general on the radio to obtain new guidance.
But, this flexibility also incorporates the Captain into the overall strategy. He is not just a cog, but an integral part of the plan. If you bring the Captain and his troops into the overall battle plane, they will treat it as their own plan. Any employee needs to feel part of the overall strategy. They need to buy into the overall plan, not just their small part of it.
But, the disconnect in this scenario is that some employers do not want the employees to feel they have a voice in company strategy. Some employers believe that in giving employees a voice in how to sell product or how best to fabricate machinery, they may seek a voice in other areas, as well. If so, that view is short-sighted.
Americans are generally independent. We will follow orders or direction but we want to know why. Our military forces for 200 years have always needed some degree of explanation before following direction. The new generation, the so-called "millenial" generation, seeks this understanding even more so. An employer who ignores these facets of our national character does so to their detriment.